Coldwell on McDonnell v Yafai familiarity: Ultimately the sparring means nothing

Ringside 12/01/2018

It will be a familiar face opposing Gavin McDonnell at the Sheffield Arena on March 3rd as he takes on former sparring partner, Gamal Yafai.

For McDonnell, the fight against one of the British boxing’s most touted prospects is a chance for him to demonstrate he’s a level above domestic class as he aims to set his focus on the highest echelon of the sport, a platform he sampled almost a year ago against Rey Vargas.

Dave Coldwell, McDonnell’s trainer, knows Yafai well from the training sessions he oversaw, and he is confident his man can pull off the victory.

“It’s a brilliant fight that both guys will fancy,” buzzed Coldwell. “Gavin wants to get back to world title class immediately, and Gamal wants to get there for the first time. Gamal is someone I consider a good friend, and I can’t say enough about how highly I rate him, but boxing can sometimes create these situations.

It’s a massive reward fight for both of them because the winner will be in line for something big, but our efforts and concentration have to be on nothing but Gamal for the time being.

He’s came through very impressively so far in his career, and the brilliant amateur success he had looks like being transferred over. Despite all his talent, he’s missing experience, and that is the one big advantage that Gavin can make count for him.”

On the sparring sessions, Coldwell added, “It ultimately means nothing, but there might be one or two things that the fighters noticed. I won’t be taking anything from the time they spent together. Anything good Gavin did, I’ll put it down to Gamal having a bad day.

I’ll be preparing Gavin for the best version of Yafai so that means starting from scratch, and getting him back to the version that climbed all the way up the rankings to a world title shot. He loved that experience, and he wants to relive it all over again. He can do that by beating Gamal Yafai.”